I do not have a restaurant recommendation for you this month, I’m sorry to say. This month, unfortunately, I have a few words to say in memory of one of my favorite chains, recently departed.
Fresh Choice opened when I was in middle school. It was the place my health conscious father found to take my brother and me where we could dump as much cheese and oil on our plates as we wanted and he could feel safe knowing it was still less than we’d be given at any of the places we said we’d rather go to. For some reason he called it Fresh Fish.
In high school it was the place I went to with my friends. We’d go in a group of four or five, two would pay and the rest would say they were just going to hang out. But it was an unsupervised, all you can eat buffet and once we were in, especially if it was busy, no one ever tried to stop the unpaid members of our party from heaping up their own plates. We’d sit for hours and even go so far as to come away with bread and muffins in our purses.
At the end of high school, my mom brought a new man into our lives. This will always be an awkward endeavor, I suppose, and he and my brother and sister and I had spent weeks doing little dances around each other. That tension broke one night at Fresh Choice when this gruff, respectable, business-type guy started a full-fledged food fight with us. It was just what we needed. And Fresh Choice, being the wild west of restaurant dining, was very obliging. I don’t even remember anyone trying to chastise us.
But as of last December, Fresh Choice is dead. Victim of the economy, victim of Sweet Tomatoes, victim of the salad bar at Whole Foods. Who knows. For all this big lament, I stopped going a long time ago. I guess everything has its cycle.